Fruits and berries are indeed superb products for a human's diet. They are high in water and provide essential vitamins and fibre. But is it the same for cats, and can they safely consume any fruit?
Before sharing a berry or two, don't forget that cats are carnivores, meaning that they rely on meat and not so much on other food which we humans consume daily. If you want to introduce fruits into your kitty's diet, learn which ones are suitable for felines and which ones to avoid.
Can Cats Eat Fruits?
An interesting fact is that cats have no sweet taste receptors. That means that your cat is unlikely to be interested in most fruits' flavours. Also, fruits and berries are not that nutritionally dense compared to vegetables, and most importantly, meat. But they are still full of water, an essential part of a feline's diet.
Before offering your cat an apple or orange, make sure you understand how fruits impact your kitty's health. In most cases, the sweetness of fruits and berries comes from sucrose and fructose, two simple sugars that create more work for your kitten's pancreas. Since felines mostly rely upon lean meats, sugar is usually an unwanted additive, which you should omit whenever possible.
Although fruits and berries are probably not purr-fect for day-to-day consumption, some of them are still okay in reasonable amounts. Read on to learn which fruits and berries are safe for felines, which ones are not, and which fruits that you always thought were vegetables are good for kitties.
1. Apples 🍎
Apples are high in vitamins A, C, E, and B, and polyphenols, all of which contribute to healthy digestion. With this in mind one might wonder – can cats eat apples? According to ASPCA, apples are toxic both for cats and dogs. You should remember that it's not the fruit of the apple tree itself, but rather its seeds, leaves, and stems that are poisonous due to their cyanide content.
Alright, but can cats have apples without seeds? It also depends on various factors, including your pet's health condition and the vet's dietary recommendations. A general rule of thumb is that nutrients come before treats.
Apple's high sugar content is harmful to felines, potentially causing digestive issues and obesity. While some cats may eat an apple out of natural curiosity, give it in moderation after peeling and removing all the seeds. Offering a small bite as an occasional treat is fine, but don't do it too often.
When it comes to apricots, it's quite similar to apples regarding the way you serve them. Apricots’ stems, leaves, and stones also contain cyanide, which causes difficulty breathing, and shock, and can even be fatal.
After completely removing cyanide-containing parts, slice an apricot into small pieces to make sure your cat doesn't choke. Apricots are full of vitamins and beta-carotene. What's more, a decent fibre content aids digestion if offered in small amounts. You are also free to offer dried apricots, but be aware of their high sugar content and only give the ones which don't contain any harmful additives.
3. Cherries 🍒
While some people claim that cherries are just fine for felines, others warn to avoid them. Where's the truth in that, and can cats eat cherries without consequences? The truth is somewhere in between. You should abstain from giving stems, leaves, or a stone since they contain cyanide in high amounts.
Antioxidants in cherries may be a great boost for a feline's immune system. These fruits can also improve your kitty's sleep and minimise arthritis risks. A cherry on the pie is a high potassium content, which helps with irregular heart rate and washes out excessive sodium from the body.
4. Citrus 🍊
Have you ever seen a usual feline's response to smelling citrus? A cat is likely to run away or show no interest in eating that lemon you've offered. However, if you're still curious whether cats can eat lemons, grapefruits, limes, or oranges, the answer is straightforward and has been backed up by ASPCA: you should never give citruses to your pet.
Citrus fruits contain high levels of limonene, linalool, and psoralen, which are toxic to cats. After eating a bite of orange or grapefruit, your feline friend might develop severe diarrhoea, photosensitivity, weakness, liver failure, and even sudden death. Call a vet immediately if your kitten chewed any citrus fruit or its leaves. You can also get a consultation and dietary recommendations using Vet Chat. This online vet service helps clarify food-related and other questions with a certified veterinarian.
While humans know that durian smells terrible, do cats recognize that odour? Yes, they do! What's more, most felines gag after smelling this fruit and show little to no interest in eating it.
Durian may also be unhealthy for cats, having high sugar content. So if you have a durian at home, it's better to leave it for yourself, but not your four-legged companion.
6. Grapes 🍇
Grapes are toxic not only for dogs, they are also dangerous to cats, possibly causing kidney failure. While the exact reasons for such reactions are still unknown, withholding from this fruit is a must. If your kitty ate a few grapes, don't hesitate to call a vet immediately.
With a moderate to severe toxicity classification, grapes may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, and lethargy. So, can cats eat grapes, even in small amounts? Absolutely not.
7. Peaches 🍑
Can cats eat peaches? Technically, a small amount is fine. Are peaches safe for cats? It depends on which part you offer to your kitty. Same as with cherries and apricots, leaves, stems, and pits are toxic to felines and can endanger your pet's health due to the moderate cyanide content. Some of the symptoms of cyanide poisoning are difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, dilated pupils, tremors, and weakness.
If you really want to offer your kitty a slice of peach, mind the amount you offer. Although its flesh isn't poisonous for cats, consuming too much may result in gastrointestinal irritation. While peaches are sweet treats for humans, they offer no significant nutritional value for kitties and may even be harmful due to their high sugar content. Make sure to offer peaches only as a treat but not as a staple meal.
Pears are generally considered safe for cats, however, their pips and seeds are highly toxic for felines because of the aforementioned cyanogenic glycosides. Your cat can still enjoy a slice of pear's meat, which is high in fibre, copper, and vitamin K. Since kitties are natural carnivores, eating too many pears may cause stomach irritation, so offer them only in tiny amounts.
Remember that plums are much like peaches and nectarines and should be offered with caution. ASPCA states that plums may be toxic to dogs and cats as their stems, leaves, and seeds contain cyanide. That means you can only offer a plum's flesh, but only in small amounts.
Plums, full of minerals and vitamins, are still not the best food for felines due to their high sugar content, so abstain from sharing an extra plum with your kittie.
And what about pomegranates? While they contain antioxidants that can boost a feline's immune system, their seeds can become a choking hazard.
If your cat eats a little bit of a pomegranate under your supervision, it probably won't harm your kitty, but feeding too much may upset their stomach. Remember that pomegranate contains 14g of sugar per 100g, which is way too much for a cat.
11. Tomatoes 🍅
The stems and leaves of tomatoes are highly toxic to felines because of the solanine they contain. As for the fruit itself, small amounts of ripe tomatoes won't harm your pet's health. A slice of tomato may even be good for digestion as this fruit is high in water and fibre.
However, it has no significant dietary value, meaning that you shouldn't replace meat with it. What's more, tomatoes are no good to cats when offered in the form of ketchup or other tomato-based sauces. Abstain from them due to their high salt and sugar content, as well as preservatives, spices, and artificial flavours.
Understanding your cat's diet is essential for its well-being and overall health. It's important to make sure that your cat is receiving proper nutrition and that their diet is balanced with all of the essential vitamins and minerals that cats need in order to stay healthy and happy.
By doing this, you can avoid unexpected trips to the vet, as well as provide your cat with a better quality of life. Furthermore, having peace of mind regarding the health of your cat is invaluable, and the best way to do this is by ensuring they are receiving the right kind of nutrition.
If you found our article helpful, please share our ‘11 Fruits You Should Not Feed Your Cats’ article with other fellow cat owners to spread awareness.
Want to keep an eye on your dog while you're away to make sure they're not eating any fruits or veggies they shouldn't? Check out our range of smart pet cameras designed for cats & dogs from Petcube Singapore.